KEEPING FIT: Fitness walking can be a safer form of exercise than running

Woman RunningEver since the jogging phenomenon in the 1970s there has been high participation in all kinds of running events. Men and women of all ages typically run within their own ability range, and race within their own age category. Friendly fun runs and community fundraisers along scenic courses followed by picnics and awards distributions have motivated thousands of previously sedentary adults to engage in purposeful physical activity.

However, in spite of the healthful benefits to the cardiovascular system, jogging has been responsible for a large number of musculoskeletal injuries. Two out of every three runners have experienced foot problems, knee problems, hip problems, back problems or other running-related injuries. Many of these injuries were the result of the constant pounding and shock absorption inherent in running. For example, every time your foot hits the ground, your leg is subjected to about three times your body weight in landing forces….

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Achilles Tendonitis: Rely on Podiatrists to Provide the Best Solutions

Achilles Tendonitis: Rely on Podiatrists to Provide the Best SolutionsWhen we go outside to walk to the mailbox or sprint across the street, our Achilles tendon is hard at work. It is the large tendon that helps connect certain muscles in our legs to our heels. Consequently, it may act up after periods of extended use. When the Achilles tendon has clearly been overworked, it has a tendency to stiffen, swell up and feel tender to the touch. It’s a condition that podiatrists call Achilles tendonitis.

What is the Problem?

The pain, swelling and stiffness commonly associated with Achilles tendonitis are surmountable with a skilled podiatrist’s help. Before coming up with a care plan to address a person’s Achilles tendonitis, a podiatrist will generally take steps to confirm the diagnosis. The confirmation is often made with the aid of diagnostic imaging and expert, manual manipulation.

How Can Experience Podiatrists Help?

With confirmation in place, treatment for Achilles tendonitis may begin right away. Podiatrists typically recommend that their patients do the following:

  • Change routines and include time to comfortably rest the Achilles tendon as well as apply compression bandages and ice. Those actions will provide stability to the tendon and surrounding muscles. Plus, when combined with over-the-counter medications, it will help decrease inflammation and tenderness.
  • The addition of heel lifts, braces and other similar devices will provide increased stability to the Achilles tendon too. Subsequently, the chances that a person’s Achilles tendonitis will go away quickly are generally improved when such measures are also put into place.

What’s Next?

Podiatrists well-familiar with Achilles tendonitis cases will stay on top of their patients’ progress. If at any time the podiatrist feels that the Achilles tendonitis treatments are not working, changes may be made to the patient’s plan of care. As a result, it may be necessary for podiatrists’ patients to eventually consider invasive solutions to their unresolved, Achilles tendonitis problems, including surgery.


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Foot Orthotics: Will They Help Seasonal Athletes Recover from Shin Splints?

Orthotics to help against Running InjuriesAlthough shin splints can happen at any time of the year, they tend to spring up more often when people begin returning to the tennis courts and running tracks. The reason behind the increase is easy to understand. As people try to get back into the swing of their favorite sports, they inadvertently put undue pressure on their tibias, tendons and muscles.

That added pressure sparks inflammation, mild soreness and eventually severe pain that may interfere with their exercise routines or daily ambulation. Thankfully, wearing foot orthotics and taking over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medications frequently helps them feel better quicker.

First, podiatrists must identify whether the person’s pain is emanating from the medial, lateral or anterior area of the shin. Then, it is common to watch the patient walk and determine if there is excessive pronation, forefoot valgus, supination or other biomechanical problems that may be contributing to the person’s shin splints.

Afterward, custom foot orthotics may be ordered and designed to suit the patient’s needs. Ideally, whichever foot orthotics are prescribed, they’ll correct the biomechanical issue, thereby reducing stress on the lower leg during routine ambulation or running.

So which foot orthotic devices are used to help ease the pain of shin splints? As you can guess, it will depend on the person’s foot and the contributing biomechanical problem at hand. Sometimes supportive, foam inserts with cut-away areas may help relieve the pressure. In other situations, it may be wise to include a supportive wrap or bandage that helps to hold the foot, ankle and lower leg into the proper position for running or walking.

Understandably, the cost and amount of time it generally takes to make custom foot orthotics for people suffering from shin splints varies as well. To learn more about treating seasonal shin splints with customized foot orthotics, please contact one of our knowledgeable podiatrists today.


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Flat Feet: Selecting The Right Running Shoe

Woman-RunningIt is imperative to select the right running shoes. The right running shoe will preserve the foot’s anatomy, allowing you to run for years to come with no pain. People with flat feet, however, have a challenge when it comes to selecting the right footwear. This is how you can select the right shoe, helping you to prevent running injuries.

Whаt Exactly іs а Flat foot? Наvіng а flat foot саn sоmеtimеs bе а frustration іn searching fоr thе appropriate accessory, lіke shoes. А flat foot іs characterized bу уоur foot print lоoking lіke а blob contoured іn thе general shape оf а foot. Yоu саn easily check thіs usіng а footprint оn а piece оf paper. Аlso, physically, уоu mау observe thаt thеrе іs аlmоst nо curve going іnward frоm уоur toe tо уоur heel. Аnothеr signіfісаnt characteristic іs thаt whеn уоu press firmly оn аnу surface, yоur foot sеems tо spread out.

What Shoes Dо І Usе? Shoes аrе generally created tо provide protection tо а person’s feet. Нowеvеr, еvеn thоugh mоst оf thе commercially аvаilаblе shoes аrе usіng soft аnd shape shifting materials, а specific pair оf shoes shоuld bе usеd fоr flat-footed people. Usuаllу, whеn а person hаs flat feet, thеу аrе аlsо considered tо bе аn overpronator. Іt іs а condition whеn thе foot rolls іnwаrd whilе running. Thаt іs whу thе appropriate shoes shоuld bе used.

The mоst appropriate shoes fоr flat feet аrе thе onеs thаt arе equipped wіth high stability properties аs well аs wіth motion control materials. Alsо, shoes wіth firm mid-soles аrе fаr thе mоst efficient types. Тhese factors reduce thе capability оf уоur flat foot tо roll ovеr іn specific areas, thus making уоur walking оr running mоre comfortable. Yоu shоuld avoid shoes thаt аrе highly curved іn іnwаrd soles fоr thеsе types mау reduce уоur stability аnd compress yоur foot painfully.

Since running shoes werе manufactured based оn thе activities оf runners, thеу аrе equipped wіth padding аnd cushion materials fоr greater flexibility. Yоu won’t nееd shoes thаt hаve multiple layers оf padding sіnсe thіs will apply pressure tо уоur flat feet, thus making іt vеrу uncomfortable tо usе. Yоu саn јust usе running shoes thаt havе аt lеаst а single layer оf comfort pads but аrе nоt tоо curved.

Pоssіble Injuries аnd Ailments: Тhеrе arе sоmе health problems thаt уou maу havе іf уоu dо nоt usе running shoes ideal fоr flat footed individuals. Fоr example, іf yоu tend tо run long distances wіth аn inappropriate shoe type, yоu mау experience instability frоm thе flat panels оf уоur feet towаrds thе upper portion оf thе legs. Тhese conditions mау сause knee аnd leg injuries whіle running. Аlsо, уоur balance capability іs compromised, leading tо аn uncontrollable body movement whіlе іn motion.

If уоu аrе going tо purchase а pair оf running shoes, уоu саn search оver thе basic items sold іn thе market. Вut, уоu shоuld аlwауs bear іn mind thаt уоu mіght nеed tо sacrifice style аnd brand іn order tо makе surе thаt уоu hаvе thе best running shoes fоr flat feet. Althоugh thіs mау seеm tо bе а lіttle frustrating, yоu shоuld аlwауs consider thе health factor оf usіng thеm. Contact us to learn more about podiatrists and how they can help you preserve the health of your foot.

Debunking Podiatry-Related Myths About Barefoot Running

Barefoot-Running“Minimalist Style” or barefoot running is an increasingly popular trend among active adults today. Along with its growing popularity comes a surging debate: Does minimalist running cause or prevent injuries for running enthusiasts?

Podiatry experts around the world have weighed in on this topic, and an overwhelming majority of them have encountered a series of myths, both good and bad, about barefoot running that they would like to officially debunk. A few of these mistruths follow in the list below:

  • Stress Fractures – This is the number one public concern regarding the trend of barefoot running. Does it really cause stress fractures? The prevailing opinion is that stress fractures are a result of a change in activity without gradual adaptation. Therefore, they are not directly related to the concept of minimalist shoes or barefoot running.
  • Plantar Fasciitis – Some sufferers of this condition believe that the idea of barefoot running would be impossible for them because it would be too painful. Actually, just the opposite may be true. Many podiatrists have reported that some patients with plantar fasciitis have seen their symptoms dissipate by adopting a minimalist running technique.
  • Flat Feet – If you think that you have been cursed by your genetics and given flat feet your whole life, making it virtually impossible for you to run without hugely beneficial arch support and/or orthotics in your shoes, think again. The concept of barefoot running actually encourages a more natural pronation with the forefoot or mid-foot areas of your feet striking the ground first, resulting in better shock absorption. Therefore, flat footed people of the world should rejoice because they can now save some money on a pair of really supportive running shoes by simply letting their flat feet do the running for them all on their own.

In conclusion, minimalist running, whether its with a minimalist running shoe or completely barefoot, is intended for you to use your feet the way nature intended; as a maximum shock absorber, rather than using a shoe that compromises the anatomical position of your foot and actually puts you at greater risk for injury. As with any new regimen or workout routine, do your research first, try it out, perhaps consult a podiatrist, and maybe you’ll like the way it feels and see less injury as an added benefit.

Tips to Prevent Running Knee Injuries

Treatment for Running InjuriesRunner’s Knee is a common injury among runners often caused by the following: overuse, misalignment of the bones, weak muscles, or a direct blow or trauma to the knee. Although you always risk injury when you run, many injuries, such as runner’s knee can be prevented. Here are some tips to prevent knee running injuries.

  • Strengthen Muscles:

    Strong core, hip and leg muscles keep your body aligned while you run. All of these muscles, especially the hips, prevent knee injuries. When your hips are weak or tight, the movements of your knees become limited. Running without this knee mobility forces your body out of alignment and strains the ligaments surrounding your knees. Incorporate light strength training in your workout regimen of these areas.

  • Stretching:

    As mentioned above, flexibility in your hips can save your knees a great deal of pain. Stretching not only gives you the flexibility needed for running, but it strengthens and warms up your muscles. Stretch the back of your legs lightly before and deeply after your run. These muscles tend to get tight during a run which creates pressure and strain on your knees.

    A great stretch to protect your knees is called “The Chair”. The Chair opens up your hips and strengthens the back of your legs and the ligaments surrounding your knees. To enter this position, stand with your feet forward, six inches apart. Stretch your arms over your head while you sit back into an imaginary chair. Bend your knees. Your back will arch and your torso will lean forward. Breathe through the stretch. As you become more flexible, you will eventually be able to bring your thighs parallel to the floor.

  • Cross Train:

    Running is hard on your knees. So to prevent knee injuries, introduce other exercises in your weekly routine. Pick exercises that are low impact on your knees, as the goal here is to give your knees a break. Try swimming or biking. The key is to listen to your body. If a certain body part is sore or tired, choose an exercise that doesn’t rely on those muscles. This way your body can recover, while you are still being active.

Always remember…if you experience any discomfort in you feet or ankles before or after a run you should contact your Marlborough podiatrists.


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4 Tips on How to Avoid Achilles Tendinitis for Runners

Treatment for Achilles TendinitisFor runners who compete in long distance marathons, achilles tendinitis can affect your performance. It happens when the achilles (the large tendon that connects your two calf muscles to the back of your heel bone) gets inflamed due to too much stress, or sustained weight. Then, over time scar tissue covers the tendon making it less flexible, which can lead to subsequent damages like a tear.

So, preventing and relieving foot pain like achilles tendinitis through strength-training and conditioning, rather than adding more support, can be an effective way to produce stronger feet that are less likely to have problems.

  1. Foot Grips

    A foot grip is an exercise much like a hand grip. The feet, using an isometric exercise, are contracted as if they are attempting to hold something. It can be done in any position, and when done in conjunction with a healthy eating regimen, can strengthen the foot very quickly. Particularly effective against plantar fasciitis; an overuse injury caused by an imbalance of fascia where the muscles aren’t strong enough to support the load, e.g. your weight distribution.

  2. Flip-Flops?

    Indeed. At first you may consider flip-flops as a negative choice for runners, and in some instances you may be correct. But think for a moment what they do: they cause you to grab the shoe with your toes when you step, strengthening your foot grip. Not a bad idea when the weather calls for it.

  3. Hill Repetitions

    Bare foot. If you find a nice, grassy hill where the sun is just right and the wind is blowing, take of those shoes and, for about an hour, run some repetitions. Not only will this strengthen your calf (remember how the achilles is connected), you will also work your quadriceps. This will also aid in reducing shin and foot splints due to muscle building.

  4. Tiptoeing

    Wearing high heels is contradictory to what you want to achieve if you are a runner. Not only is it never recommended by any medical professional, it actually shortens the Achilles tendon. But walking around on your tip-toes actually strengthens the muscles in and around the metatarsal heads (the exact spot weakened by high heels). Thus, tiptoeing is a good strength exercise for your foot, and can help ward off debilitating running problems.

Want more information on how we can help with your foot & ankle pain? Feel free to contact our Boston foot doctor any time.


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Shin Splints: One of The Most Common Running Injuries

Shin Splint TreatmentMany runners, especially newbies, run the risk (no pun intended) of experiencing running injuries. Running can be a highly impactful cardio exercise. It has many benefits associated with the mind and body that can give you a very beneficial experience. In addition to being a great form of cardio workout, it can also do a world of good for your mood and mental well-being to go for a run on a warm summer morning with the sun out and the birds singing.

Nobody wants to ruin this feeling of a healthy mind and body by encountering a troublesome running injury. People all too often start a healthy new endeavor such as a running regimen without the prior knowledge of how to properly stretch, train, and maintain their routine.

Medial tibial stress syndrome, more commonly known as “shin splints”, is perhaps the most common form of running injury. When not treated properly or given its proper time to heal, however, it can be very disruptive to your running regimen. Shin splints are best characterized by a pain that occurs towards the front and along the inside or down the outside of your lower leg. There are, however, preventive measures you can take to avoid this very common problem.

The first thing you should do to prevent shin splints from occurring in the first place, is to take great care in stretching out before starting a run. Properly stretching the Achilles, calf, and arch of the foot will go a long way in preventing shin splints in the first place. The next thing you can do is to increase distance by very small increments. Shin splints often occur from greatly increasing your distance too much and too soon.

If you are unfortunate enough to already have shin splints or encounter them in the future, the acronym to remember is RICE; or Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. To treat shin splints properly, you need to take the proper time away from your running program by resting your leg for an adequate time off. This will give your tibia the amount of time away from impact that it needs to heal. Icing while elevating the affected leg will help with the pain and get you back to your running program in no time.

As with anything else, knowledge goes a long way in treating the problem, and you can enjoy your routine of healthy mind and body again very quickly just by being prepared. Remember…if you are having any foot or ankle related pain you should contact our Boston podiatry office today.

Boston Office
1153 Centre Street
Suite 5C
Boston, MA 02130
(617) 983-1900
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340 Maple Street
Suite 405
Marlborough, MA 01752
(508) 303-8188
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Middleton, MA 01949
(978) 774-2800
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